Ed Clarke's top STEM-themed books for aspiring scientists and engineers

Published on: 01 April 2020 Author: Ed Clarke

When I wrote Summer of the Dragons (and The Secret Dragon that preceded it), I knew I wanted to have a female protagonist who loved science with a passion (in her case palaeontology), and didn’t feel pressure from friends or family to think differently. It’s so important to encourage all children in STEM subjects, but as science has traditionally been so male-dominated, girls in particular need to see themselves reflected and celebrated. Thankfully things are changing and these books are all part of that long overdue paradigm shift.

Lightning Mary by Anthea Simmons

Mary Anning was a major inspiration for Mari, my lead character in Summer of the Dragons. Lightning Mary is an insightful fiction based on Mary’s real life struggle to become a scientist in an age when it wasn’t considered appropriate for girls to have any such ambitions. The book also contains a fact section about how Mary’s discoveries contributed to changes in scientific thinking about the history of the earth.

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Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts

The entire series by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts is just brilliant. I loved reading them to my own daughters. Not only does Rosie create the most spectacular gadgets and gizmos, this is a story about the importance of following your dreams. There are so many things to spot on each page, which makes it perfect for reading again and again.

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Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts

Ada is a scientist who wants to know about absolutely everything. One day her house is filled with a terrible smell. Ada makes it her mission to investigate by conducting various experiments to discover the source and how to get her house smelling beautiful again. It took us quite a few reads to work out what was actually causing the stink!

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Gutsy Girls Go For Science: Palaeontologists

Another wonderful book that mixes the inspiring biographies of female palaeontologists (like Mari!) with hands-on science projects that you can try at home. Full of funny illustrations and fascinating facts, the book is part of a whole series encouraging kids to take an interest in science.

The Infinite Lives of Maisie Day by Christopher Edge

Chris Edge is a great writer and brilliantly inspiring on all things scientific. In this story, Maisie Day wants to build her own nuclear reactor! It’s an exciting and thrilling story that sees Maisie put her knowledge of science to the test.

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A Galaxy of Her Own: Amazing Stories of Women in Space

This is an amazing collection of 50 real-life stories about women who have been involved with our adventures into space. It covers lots of different women and roles, from female astronauts to the women throughout history who have been making things happen behind the scenes. Prepare to be inspired to reach for the stars!

The Matilda Effect

Follow Matilda on her journey as she sets out to prove that females shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to science and inventing. Matilda finds out that her Gran was an astrophysicist and discovered a planet, but her evil boss claimed the discovery as his own and is about to receive a Nobel Prize. Matilda takes you on a wild adventure to make the truth known, with her Gran in tow.

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Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World

A great compilation of 50 women in STEM throughout history. Paired with beautiful illustrations, it features lots of notable figures including Jane Goodall, Rosalind Franklin and Marie Curie, plus many more who have contributed so much to science. My daughters found it very inspiring.

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George's Secret Key to the Universe

Written by Lucy Hawking and her father, the late Professor Stephen Hawking, George is able to travel into space via a super computer called Cosmos. An exciting adventure, this is a great book to introduce budding young scientists to basic science and the creation of the universe. It’s also full of scientific diagrams and pictures which add an extra element of interest.

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Ed Clarke's latest book, Summer of the Dragons, is published April 2020. His debut novel, The Secret Dragon, is out now. He tweets at @his_name_is_ed.

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